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Published April 15, 2008, 12:00 AM

Beef cow ration balancer available on U of M site

ST. PAUL — With grain prices at all-time highs and hay prices not far behind, livestock producers need to find ways to become more efficient to stay profitable.

By: MIKE BOERSMA, U OF M EXTENSION, Worthington Daily Globe

ST. PAUL — With grain prices at all-time highs and hay prices not far behind, livestock producers need to find ways to become more efficient to stay profitable.

The University of Minnesota Extension Beef Team has released the Beef Cow Ration Balancer to help producers more closely examine the feed costs of their operation.

The free, computer-based program helps producers study the feed costs of their operation and can be downloaded from the U of M Beef Team Web site at www.extension. umn.edu/Beef.

After entering information about individual operations, producers can balance a ration to meet the requirements of their cattle, utilizing the feedstuffs available.

The program also summarizes daily feed delivery for entire herds and will forecast how much of each feedstuff is required to feed at a specified level throughout the feeding period.

A cost analysis feature breaks down the cost of each feed ingredient on a “per unit of energy” and “per pound of protein” basis. This can be helpful as producers try to find less expensive alternatives to some of the more common feedstuffs.

The Beef Cow Ration Balancer is not designed to replace a professional nutritionist. It should be used as a management tool for producers to more closely monitor the nutritional needs and feed costs of their operations. When used correctly, the program can help producers determine what times of the year require the highest level of nutrition, when they can utilize lower quality, less expensive feeds, and the most efficient time to manipulate the body condition of their cows.

If you experience any technical difficulties or have questions about the program, please e-mail Extension livestock educator Mike Boersma at boers010@umn.edu.

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